You've Been Warned

You've Been Warned

For certain workers, there can be a very real opportunity to encounter venomous snakes. Any of the following work could expose individuals to the dangers of snakes while on the job.

  • Forestry
  • Landscaping
  • Tree Trimming
  • Grounds Keep
  • Site Clearing
  • General Housekeeping
  • Road Construction
  • Response to Natural Disasters
OSHA Standard 1926.21(b)(4) says that in job site areas where harmful plants or animals are present, employees who may be exposed shall be instructed regarding the potential hazards, and how to avoid injury, and the first aid procedures to be used in the event of injury.
 Close-up of a rattlesnake tail with the unique warning "rattle".

Close-up of a rattlesnake tail with the unique warning "rattle".

Rattlesnakes make a distinct warning sound using their tails when they feel threatened.

There are many species of rattlesnakes in the United States and they are the most recognizable type of snake.

Rattlesnakes may be found sunning themselves near logs, boulders, or open areas.

Found in almost all work areas outdoors, rattlesnakes can be encountered across the United States including in the mountains, prairies, deserts and on beaches.

 Northern Pacific Rattlesnake seen in California.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake seen in California.

When covering the dangers of snake encounters during your safety meeting, make sure to emphasize these important points:

  • Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing debris and taking care of housekeeping outside. Consider wearing heavy gloves, especially when working outdoors and dealing with brush, leaves, or piles of lumber. Consider wearing boots at least 10 inches high especially if working near water areas where snakes may be present.
  • Remember, snakes often bite only when threatened. If you see a snake, step back and allow it to proceed.
  • If bitten, call 911 immediately! Pay attention to the color of the snake and the shape of the snake's head to help with treatment. Have someone take a photo, if possible.
  • Keep bite victims calm and reduce movement to slow the possible spread of venom. Lay the victim down so the bite is below the level of the heart. Cover the bite wound with a clean, dry dressing. NEVER cut the wound or attempt to suck out the venom.

If you have employees working outdoors, then you should not miss the opportunity to have safety meetings on the hazards they may encounter, like snakes. Weeklysafety.com offers hundreds of safety meeting topics and toolbox talks, and yes, we even have topics on snake awareness and safety. Grab 10 free topics today (our gift to you! no obligation!) and then when you are ready, start your no-risk subscription to Weeklysafety.com.

Prevent Close Encounters

Prevent Close Encounters

Safety in Action, Easy Win

Safety in Action, Easy Win

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